Paramedics training for ‘high-risk’ situations

Looking after a person who is half-awake and struggling to breathe is scary scenario for most.

However, air rescue paramedics have to do it multiple times every month.

A group of Otago paramedics made sure they were prepared for the high-risk scenario at a training session at the Otago Southland Rescue Helicopter Trust base in Taieri yesterday.

Brandon Burke
Brandon Burke
Helicopter Emergency Medical Service clinical medical director Brandon Burke, who was training the paramedics, said "this ... [is] definitely the highest-risk activity that our clinical crews do."

Mr Burke said patients could be suffering from major burns, stroke or cardiac arrest and rescue crews would either be arriving first at the scene or taking over from roadside assistance.

He said the crews required technical training as well as strong communication skills to ensure their patients’ safety.

"We’re taking a patient who is awake and having to put them to sleep with an anaesthetic to manage their airway and to control the situation which is, any time we’re managing a high-risk airway, always a high-risk activity."

The crews received a simulation-based education where they practised on a mannequin in a team of three.

They took turns practising how to insert a breathing tube into a mannequin in a tense simulated environment.